Winfield family manages a new normal after ALS diagnosis
On difficult days, in pain and grief, Dave Scavotto of Winfield still inspires everyone around him.
Dave was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal, progressive, neuromuscular disease, in October 2018. For months, he had been losing weight and experiencing back pain; however, after seeing several doctors, his health issues could not be sufficiently explained.
Eventually, Dave was seen by a neurologist at the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine where he was told he has ALS. The diagnosis was confirmed at the Mayo Clinic.
Dave and his family were devastated by the news and are still grappling with acceptance.
Though ALS is weakening Dave physically, he remains strong emotionally and mentally.
"Family, friends, members of my parents' church and my dad's colleagues have all eagerly stepped up to lend a hand," shares Joe, one of Dave's sons. "People bring meals to my parents, offer prayers and help my mom with anything she needs. This outpouring of support is a testament to who my dad is and how he has lived his life. He has always been a role model for me and my brother. We continue to look up to him as he faces new challenges brought on by ALS."
In less than a year since his diagnosis, Dave's legs, arms and voice muscles have weakened significantly.
Today he uses a walker or wheelchair, depending upon distance, has trouble speaking and relies on a feeding tube for nourishment.
Despite his physical challenges, Dave thinks about others and wants to hear from his frequent visitors about their lives and how he can help them.
The Scavotto family wants to give back to the community that is helping them manage their new normal.
They have formed a team -- Scavotto Squad -- for the Les Turner ALS Foundation's ALS Walk for Life.
Held on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Soldier Field, the ALS Walk for Life features a 2-mile walk along Chicago's lakefront and through the iconic stadium.
Approximately 7,000 participants walk in honor or memory of a loved one with ALS at Chicagoland's largest gathering of the ALS community.
As team captain, Joe intended to gather a small group to walk in his dad's honor.
The team has quickly grown with local family and friends, and out-of-state relatives will be participating, too. Joe had set a fundraising goal of $1,000, and already the team has collectively raised more than $7,500 for the Les Turner ALS Foundation. Again, a testament to who Dave is.
To get more information or make a donation, visit www.lesturnerals.org.